Cick the link to see them plotted or select from the links to the right to filter. As soon as you start from the Durness side, you are straight into a steep climb. West Coast of Scotland sounds nice. And finally, to Charlie. Find her story of pushing herself in the face of failure here…, Words by Naomi Freireich (@frikfrak74), photos by Charlie Lees (@charlielees). Mindset. We walked on the sand at low tide, climbed rocks, ate dinner with a view, and after a good night’s rest, woke with the sunrise over the bay. Of course, the best choice for you is very much dependent on what It’s not actually a trail though, but a route. So much history is attached to these roads, and to be able to ride them still is pretty mind-blowing. When you live on the south coast, Scotland seems an awful long way away. We decided to take a breather and check our map. It didn’t seem to hold me back though, and I made it through the Ardverikie estate in record time and was heading up to Loch Ossian. From the north, the pass climbs almost 700m over 12km to its highest point, then descends on a majestic but incredibly rough set of switchbacks that keep you on your toes. Stretching approximately 230 miles (370 km) from the Highland hub of Fort William to the remote lighthouse of Cape Wrath, it is an unmarked and sometimes trailless route that passes through the wild and spectacular landscapes of northwestern Scotland. There ware many stops along the way to take in the sites of the MOD buildings and abandoned homes. That’s easy enough to get to with two planes and a train: Boston->Dublin->Glasgow->Fort William. Rainspotting – our second film together with Brother Cycles (following Beulah, 2016) – tracks our 84-hour wintry bikepacking ramble through Scotland’s gloomy Grampians. The ride back to the ferry was just stunning. Thankfully the track has been partially tarmacked thanks to a heavy MOD presence in the area. It was Cape Wrath (Scotland’s most Northernly point on the mainland) and the remote café was open for business (as it is 24 hours a day 365 days a year). To ride to the end of the trail past my old University haunts, along the Kelvin cycle path, past Maryhill, the Botanical Gardens, and through Kelvingrove beneath Glasgow University felt like such a fitting way to end my ride. Once on the other side of the water, the midges instantly swarmed on us like a cloud, so the decision was promptly made to get under way and out from the swarms of nibblers. This day I knew would be tough, with three big climbs before I even got to the biggest of the route, and the highest road pass in Scotland, the Corrieyairack Pass. I would be starting having already failed. Well, it is in fact almost a thousand kilometres from where we currently live in Sussex. My goal was to go faster. Click the link below to learn about each. High up (Ullapool / Cape Wrath) or lower (Glasgow/Fort William)? Okay, the use of the word official might not be solidly defined, but here are *most* of the recognised long distance bikepacking across England, Scotland and Wales. Simply put, bikepacking is the synthesis of mountain biking and minimalist camping; it evokes the freedom of multi-day backcountry hiking, with the range and thrill of riding a mountain bike. Undertaking a 560-kilometre bikepacking route through the wilds of the far north of Scotland in autumn weather definitely takes a certain mindset. Within a couple of miles, a strange building appeared through the mist in the distance. It didn’t take long to drift off that night! The penultimate section started from Croick Church, possibly one of the most haunting reminders of the clearances, with the names of the families who sheltered there after their houses were burned to remove them etched into the glass windows. These incredible roads, which quite often head straight over the tops of mountains (see the Corrieyairack as a case in point), were built in the mid-1700s in a push to get General Wade’s army into the highlands of Scotland to control the Jacobite rebellion. Approximately 230 miles in length, most people take 2-3 weeks to backpack the trip. Here I met two separate riders going the other way, the first people I’d met on the trails all day. After checking in with Charlie and deciding on a camping spot for the night, one final small climb of the day was all that remained. Climb three was comparatively easy, which was good because I needed everything I had for the Corrieyairack. Visit this section to learn how to choose a route, and some insight into navigation. Arriving late in the evening, I met up with my biking buddy, Jack Kirkbride. In a sense, at least. There ware many stops along the way to take in the sites of the MOD buildings and abandoned homes. Yum. Just the faint sound of the sea and wind and the crackling of the fire. Feeling refreshed we took a few tourist pics and cracked on back along the route we had came back towards the bothy at Kearvaig. 33 mi. Derek Buttle 1930-2017 Lael, Chris, Erik & Rue explore the High Sierras of California with bikes and bike backpacks. As we climbed away from the coast and inland, the midges dissipated and gave way to some light drizzle. Day 3 stats: 225km and 3478m of climbing. We had a ferry to catch, so had a fairly strict time plan to keep to. Early the next morning we were up and brewing a nice cuppa ready for the day ahead. For the support, the selfless gift of his time and patience, and for the stunning photographs by which to remember a truly unforgettable weekend. The drizzle turned into rain and we were both getting fairly soaked by this point. Originally published in The Bikepacking Journal 03, Ditibised is Alexandera Houchin’s extraordinary story of training for the Tour Divide, framed in four seasons…. Its beauty is in its simplicity, but don’t confuse simple with basic. At the time of researching the route, the most information I had was someone thinking the record was around three days. This was the hardest section of the ride and I was through it. The drizzle turned into rain and we were both getting fairly soaked by this point. Expect fully loaded bikes, empty roads & wilderness, campfires, bothies, tents, and a steady flow of single malt… History timeline; Obituaries. Cape Wrath Trail Backpacking Gear List, Explained Philip Werner Gear Lists, Scotland The Cape Wrath Trail travels up the west coast of Scotland, beginning in Fort William, and ending at Cape Wrath which is the northernmost point of Britain. This time there was no missing the track. View The Map, There are some routes that are made classic by their sheer perfection, and others by races. Beulah Tour Cycling Cape Wrath & Scotland's Wild North-West - a three day bikepacking trip to the most north-westerly point of the British Mainland, along our loneliest road... Stefan Amato & Jordan Gibbons The Cape Wrath Fellowship. Set it up for XC race speed and a trail centre slayer or set it up for all-day comfort loaded with bags and ride rugged country, bothy trips to Cape Wrath and beyond. This was a ride that was to mark my growth in mindset. Add to that the low-lying clouds I was to pass through and that whole section of the trip was shrouded in the air of mystery and wonder. As we climbed away from the coast and inland, the midges dissipated and gave way to some light drizzle. The fourth issue of The Bikepacking Journal hit mailboxes this spring. Many thanks to GORE Wear for having my back (and legs, arms, feet and hands). Blue skies and warm sunshine had come out to see us off! Fast and fun. Thankfully the track has been partially tarmacked thanks to a heavy MOD presence in the area. And despite the pain and fatigue I felt, the joy of being there and knowing my body was capable of powering me to the top kept me pushing on and kept me smiling. You can follow her adventures on Instagram @frikfrak74. UK official off-road bikepacking routes. Crammed into a long weekend, this would be tight, with work sandwiching either side, plus the intricacies of the route itself. Riding along the familiar West Highland Way, even in the opposite direction to the other times I’ve ridden it, felt like I was home already. Then, on arrival, the weather scuppering our chance of a ferry crossing from Durness (the only means to reach Cape Wrath) meant I would be starting, not from one end, but with 20km unridden and unrideable by me. One after another after another. During this period of uncertainty, it has been nice to return to thinking about our more basic needs. First, a delayed start pushed us to rethink and turn the route on its head, starting at Cape Wrath itself to remove the unknown of a return home from the far north on the final day. When we stepped outside, it was wonderful to find that the clouds and dull weather had all dissipated overnight. To view them all, click through to the komoot Collection and hit … Seeing the remote remains of former settlements really brought home just how much this period changed the landscape of Scotland both physically and emotionally for those families forced out of their homes. The CWT is more of a route than a trail because it’s not blazed or way-marked and because you can connect the endpoints using any sequence of trails, 4×4 tracks, paths, roads, or off-trail segments to connect the two endpoints. I awoke a couple of hours later and found that I had drifted off (as had Jack). Home Blog Bikepacking Ruigh Aiteachain Bothy, Glenfeshie. Gear that Worked We must have missed it a while back. Trust me. After what seemed like a short ride, we arrived back in time for the ferry and were in Durness for a stop at the famous Coco Mountain café for one of the most amazing hot chocolates you will ever experience. Designed to be ridden over a leisurely eight days, its inauguration was a race event, which saw the record time being set at just over four days. Length: 23.80 miles Level of ride: Beginner Type of bike: Any though mountain bike preferable. Try one. The Cape Wrath Trail is often referred to as Britain’s toughest long distance walk. Thankfully, everything was packed from the day before and that surge of adrenaline meant I wasn’t thinking about the pain. She lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, with her husband, two children and two step children, where she works as an IT Project manager. People have been strapping bags to handlebars and donning backpacks since the dawn of mountain biking, and using their knobbly-tyred bikes to explore remote routes unreachable on day trips. We all know what the run up to Christmas is like, don’t we? Once back at the bothy, we made a brew and climbed into our sleeping bags to warm up. As you descend the track, the stunning views of the bothy open up with an expanse of golden sanded beach wrapped up out the harsh winds by towering cliffs and hills all around. Multi-activity 29er for fast, flowy trails, hurtling over (US) It'll be a pretty informal, light-hearted 30 mins so please come by if you're keen to hear more, or ask us any questions. Bikepacking is a relatively recent phenomenon. I awoke early next day. On the way home, we both made a promise that we would be back again the following year. View All Features. Bikes and luggage all on aboard. I bought a Cape Wrath from 97 from retrobike. This would be a journey about far more than just the distance I would ride. When faced with hardship and no reward for enduring, what is there to spur you on to succeed? Simply put, bikepacking is the synthesis of mountain biking and minimalist camping; it evokes the freedom of multi-day backcountry hiking, with the range and thrill of riding a mountain bike. Another hydro road climb followed by a beautiful switchback descent took me close to Killin and a lunch break. We believe travel by bicycle has the power to encourage conservation, inclusivity, and respect for all people and cultures. And not done it all at the same time. Thankfully, the first climb started with a smooth hydro access path. As failures go, this one was certainly a winner. Start Here, Broadly speaking, there are three bikepacking genres to choose from – Multi-day Mountain Biking, Ultralight Race & Gravel, and Expedition & Dirt Touring. Accidentally switching off my alarm meant my morning routine was condensed to 15 minutes of mad panic. In the morning (and if I’m honest, from when I found out about the ferry cancellation), I knew what I was going to do. And to see the Gallery lit up in all its glory was properly emotional. It was so dark by now, but my lights kept me safe and marked the way onward. An Turas Mor: Cape Wrath to Glasgow by Bike - BIKEPACKING.com Naomi Freireich set out for a solo time trial from Cape Wrath to Glasgow on Scotland's An … An Turas Mor: Cape Wrath to Glasgow by Bike - BIKEPACKING.com Naomi Freireich set out for a solo time trial from Cape Wrath to Glasgow on Scotland's An … If you’d like to see the complete list of gear I brought for this, the southern half (140 miles) of the Cape Wrath Trail, it’s detailed in this (linked) gear list post. Having that positivity to push on when the only reason to do so is that mindset itself; it’s a life skill that doesn’t come naturally to most. I could imagine the views would be stunning had the cloud not been so low. It has seen tragedy in its past and its remoteness gives you a sense of tranquillity beyond anything frequently experienced before. For me, being warm and dry and knowing I was safe and had food and water simplified the task ahead. The further on we progressed, the more the bad weather came in. Lee Craigie and Andy Toop used fatbikes and packrafts to access the rugged terrain and rough seas. A truly magical place that’s well worth the effort to get to. The vast uninhabited highlands have been really opened up for riding by the hydroelectric industry, with the access roads reaching high up into the hills where the dams, turbines, and solar generate 90% of the energy consumed in Scotland. Surely the turn onto the path that would lead us down to Kearvaig Bothy was close! Set it up for XC race speed and a trail centre slayer or set it up for all-day comfort loaded with bags and ride rugged country, bothy trips to Cape Wrath and beyond. Cape Wrath – 31/08/18 to 02/09/19. Cycle magazine; Cycle Campaign News ; CycleClips e-newsletter; Velocheer; Jobs; History. Cape Wrath Home Blog Bikepacking Cape Wrath. All in, 175km and 3,281m of climbing. An Turas Mor: Cape Wrath to Glasgow by Bike - BIKEPACKING.com Hardtail trail centre mountain bike compatible with 27.5+ or 29 inch wheels. Cape Wrath by Fatbike and Packraft - BIKEPACKING.com A film with a twist about a fat bike and packraft journey to the most northwesterly point on the UK mainland, Cape Wrath. The tracks were quite reasonable and the climbs all doable at a casual pace. As the night rolled on, we kept the fire going with driftwood and some slow burning firelogs. This time, we finally got to see all those spectacular sceneries. Nothing my bike couldn’t handle. The jackets were packed away, and shorts were called for now. Publications. We inspire and inform through original bikepacking routes, stories, and coverage of the gear, news, and events that make our community thrive. Damn! Standing there in the wind and rain, I knew the old me would have been making my excuses already, but in that moment I knew I was ready for this, and I also knew just what completing the journey no matter what now would mean to me. Click the link below to find out how to start. What is Bikepacking? BIKEPACKING.com is dedicated to exploration by bicycle. The Killin to Callander cycle path gave me some easy, flattish kilometres, albeit into a headwind before hitting the three lochs route from Loch Venachar. So during quarantine I really wanted to make another project, something off-grid, to get me going to forests, lakes and all the places I wanted. What a place. When it comes to bikepacking, there’s a world of options, not just limited to what kind of bike is best, but also about clothing, cooking equipment, sleeping systems - the list goes on. Fast and fun. Try one. To Mason Cycles for loaning me the über-capable InSearchOf; truly a bike for all terrain (and I checked this was true over the weekend!). Despite her attempt to set the new fastest time on Scotland’s An Turas Mór being invalidated before she could even start pedaling, Naomi Freireich recently set out for a solo time trial from Cape Wrath to Glasgow. This was our second trip of 2019 to the bothy and again we elected to camp and allow the fellow visitors to sleep in the bothy. Beyond the damn, however, the paths became rough and loose and at times very boggy. Visiting Kearvaig and Cape Wrath had been on my bucket list for a long time. Arriving late in the evening, I met up with my biking buddy, Jack Kirkbride. Set it up for XC race speed and a trail centre slayer or set it up for all-day comfort loaded with bags and ride rugged country, bothy trips to Cape Wrath and beyond. 26 inch retro frame, some wide bars, get those wide tyres in and let's get going. Beulah, a collaborative film between Pannier and Brother Cycles, follows their unsupported cycle trip to explore the Cape Wrath track; a journey inspired by a 1970s OS Map Sheet of the most north-westerly part of Scotland. I didn’t know what to expect. Mindset. The evening was now rolling in, so we brought the bikes in (that salty air won’t do my bike any favours overnight) and got a fire set. Exposure lights for their excellent bike lights keeping me safe on the roads and on the right path off them. We rose with the light, enjoyed a tasty breakfast with our view, and headed to the ferry point, the closest I could get to the end to begin my journey. Learn More, We have ~100 routes on our worldwide bikepacking routes map. Rather than stop there, at the edge of a busy road, I decided to push on to Contin, home of the Strathpuffer 24-hour race, and my first 24-hour title. It didn’t fail to live up to its expectations. I’d been up in the night needing the toilet and had to hobble. After what seemed like a short ride, we arrived back in time for the ferry and were in Durness for a stop at the famous Coco Mountain café for one of the most amazing hot chocolates you will ever experience. The weather was a little overcast, but the water was still. And aiming for the fastest time over the route is the ambition that spurs me on, but if the possibility of completing it is dashed from the offset, what drive is there to suffer anyway? This time, we finally got to see all those spectacular sceneries. Quick, lightweight 29er modern mountain bike, a genuine multi-activity hardtail. What differentiates this new wave of bikepacking is the specialised gear that’s emerged and the popularisation of By the time I popped out in Aberfoyle the dusk was creeping in and I had around 80km to go until the end. Learn More, As important as it is to have a reliable bike and pack as light as you can, choosing the right route is perhaps the key to your enjoyment. Click the link below to find out how to start. A great overnight trip to the Ruigh Aiteachain bothy on the Glenfeshie estate to celebrate a couple of phat boys birthdays. The bothy is known as one of the best in Scotland. Bikepacking An Turas Mor Glasgow to Cape Wrath, Solo and packrafting across Kyle Of Durness to finish. to support us & get The Bikepacking Journal. Cape Wrath. There is no escaping it I’m afraid! Naomi Freireich is the current UK and European 24-hour Mountain Bike Champion and a GORE Wear athlete. We decided to take a breather and check our map. 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